Machu Picchu really is a special place, and that’s as much because of all the otherworldly beauty and ancient culture that permeate this region as because of the creative ways travel agencies have managed to make the most of those natural gifts.
Machu Picchu isn’t just some popular destination you visit to snap a few photos of or learn about its history – it’s a journey you can really experience with all your senses, as closely as possible to the way the ancient tribes that roamed these lands did.
In that sense, Machu Picchu has become a wonderland for extreme adventures that let you explore those historic landscapes by all kinds of means and modes of transportation, at all kinds of speed, and from all kinds of altitudes.
Kandoo Adventures has picked out a few extreme adventures that will let you soak up the magic atmosphere of Cusco, the Sacred Valley, and the Inca jungles, which together make up the Machu Picchu experience.
Mountain Biking in Cusco and the Sacred Valley
Mountain biking in those regions is practically a universally enjoyable experience. You can get it in all kinds of difficulties, depending on your experience and skill level, as well as the amount of adrenaline you’re looking to generate in your veins.
Whatever you choose though, one thing remains a constant – you’ll relish all kinds of gorgeous views of mountains, archeological sites, rivers, and villages, regardless of how fast you’re going. Of course, stopping at prominent destinations is always part of the schedule.
Hiking the Inca Trail
Just the very title of this mystic, ancient route can be enough to get your blood going.
It’s really mind-blowing that the original trail was 40,000 kilometers long, connecting the Incas’ territories from Ecuador to Chile. The modern Inca Trail makes for a little more modest hiking experience, but will nevertheless feel quite adventurous once you’ve embarked on it. The classic one is 82 kilometers-long, distributed between 4 days, which is still pretty extreme for the average human being.
Of course, the Inca Trail isn’t just long, but pretty high as well, getting well beyond 13,000 feet at certain points, so some preliminary adjustment is an absolute must. Most people spend a couple of days in Cusco first to let their bodies acclimatize and avoid severe altitude sickness.
A hiking experience of such height and length is bound to be demanding and straining, but it’s every bit as rewarding as well. This route goes through Inca ruins that can’t be reached in any other way, which makes the whole journey that much more authentic.
Inca Jungle Trail
It’s important to remember that when you talk about Machu Picchu, diversity is the name of the game. Not only can you get to the promised land by a number of routes, but a lot of those routes can also be taken in a number of ways.
In that spirit, the Inca Trail and the Inca Jungle Trail are two totally different experiences.
The Inca Jungle Trail is definitely more extreme in the traditional sense of the world. In fact, it can turn out to be the ultimate adrenaline cocktail of adventures, blending mountain biking, rafting, ziplining, and hiking, all in the span of 4 to 5 days.
The other awesome thing about this route is that you get to immerse yourself in the lush jungles of the Andean region and channel Jaguar Paw from the movie “Apocalypto.”
Overall, the Inca Jungle Trail is particularly suitable for young people, looking to explore this ancient civilization in the most adventurous and diverse ways possible.
Rafting in the Urubamba River
This is another staple of the Machu Picchu experience.
The Urubamba river runs through the Sacred Valley, which is why rafting here can be combined with a number of other adventurous activities that these areas enable.
That being said, rafting can be extreme enough on its own to quench a lot of people’s thirst for adrenaline.
It’s important to note that this route can be unavailable due to the heavy rains that sometimes occur between December and February.
Sky Lodging in Sacred Valley
For some, this is the best kind of adventure – with a generous dash of romanticism.
Sky lodging in the Sacred Valley during the night is probably as close to floating in outer space as most people can ever get. You get to soak up the boundless views of these beautiful lands while the stars above illuminate them for you.
Paragliding and Ziplining over the Sacred Valley
As you’ve probably noticed, the Sacred Valley is a true Disneyland for adventures.
Ziplining is a classic experience to get your heart jumping, but over the Sacred Valley, it will be jumping with joy as you fly through these breath-taking views. If you want to take the whole thing up a notch, you can get to the zipline by rock climbing.
And when it comes to paragliding, over a land as picturesque and ancient as the Sacred Valley, there just can’t be an adventure seeker who can stay indifferent.
There’s hardly a place that epitomizes the saying that the journey is as important as the destination better than the adventure wonderland of Machu Picchu.